Laba Porridge (臘八粥; là bā zhōu), a mainstay of the Laba Festival, is a traditional Chinese dish that contains at least eight kinds of beans, seeds and nuts. This porridge is especially prepared on cold days. The beans, seeds and nuts are a great source of energy that will keep you full. Try the following Chinese porridge recipe; you will be glad you did.
Laba Porridge boosts the blood and qi in the body. It contains a lot of soluble fiber from the different types of beans, and can reduce the risk of heart disease. It is healthful way to begin a winter’s day.
- 1 cup glutinous rice
- ½ cup lotus seeds
- ½ cup peanuts
- ½ cup red beans
- 10 Chinese red dates
- 1 cup coix seeds (Job’s tears)
- ¼ cup walnuts
- ¼ cup raisins
- ½ cup green beans
- Brown sugar to taste
1. Wash the red dates and remove the flesh from the seeds. Discard the seeds.
2. Put all the beans, seeds, and peanuts into a large pot. (Note: Soak for an hour before boiling. It works better when they are pre-soaked.)
3. Bring to a boil, then cook on low heat for around 3 hours, stirring occasionally, until all the ingredients are soft.
4. Add all the other ingredients, such as walnuts and raisins, into the pot, and boil for approximately another hour until very soft.
5. Stir in brown sugar to taste during the last half hour of cooking.
If you don’t have all of the ingredients, you can replace some with other seeds, nuts, or beans. Experiment with flavors by varying the quantities and ingredients to suit your taste.
This requires a lot of water. You have to keep an eye on it, and if it becomes too dry, add more water; if not, keep boiling until the beans and seeds are soft. The softer they are, the better the taste.